Receiving Wide Coverage
Mortgage market blues: Lenders are preparing “for the weakest year for refinancings since the turn of the century” due to rising interest rates, the Financial Times reports. The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts refi volumes will drop by more than 60% from 2016 levels to about $425 billion this year, which would be the lowest level since 2000. That puts thousands of mortgage industry jobs as risk.
But there’s a way to profit from the carnage, the FT advises: Buy mortgage servicing rights, which are “one of the cheapest ways to hedge against, or profit from, a rise in U.S. interest rates.” Investors stand to earn between 7% and 8.5% over the next four years, it says.
The “10-year odyssey through America’s housing crisis,” gets ink from the Wall Street Journal, which notes 2.5 million homes are still worth less than their mortgages.
Cyber crimes: Hackers who are able to make ATMs “spit cash like winning slot machines” are now operating inside the U.S. following widespread thefts in Europe and Asia. “Jackpotting,” as it’s called, “augurs more sophisticated technological challenges that American financial firms will face in coming years,” the Washington Post reports. The thieves are targeting stand-alone machines made by Diebold Nixdorf, in which they use a modified medical endoscope to install malware in the machines.
Coincheck, a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, said it would spend up to ¥46.3 billion ($426 million) to refund customers after the exchange was hacked last Friday. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Washington Post, American Banker
On Monday, Japanese regulators ordered the exchange to increase security and investigate the hack.
Prince released: Saudi Arabia released billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a major investor in Citigroup, Apple and Twitter, after more than two months in detention following the kingdom’s anticorruption purge. The prince came to an undisclosed settlement with the government that allows him to remain chairman of one of the country’s biggest conglomerates. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times
Wall Street Journal
Pay to play: Major American banks are paying colleges millions of dollars in royalties for the ability to hawk their products on campus and to become the schools’ preferred banking partner. While banks have been doing this for years, “complete deal terms are just coming to light,” the paper reports, as schools now have to report the details of the payments. Payments range from the $2,000 Holy Family University in Pennsylvania received from PNC to the $1.7 million the University of California, Berkeley, gets from Bank of the West.
New York Times
End around: Want to punish Equifax for last year’s massive data breach but find that it’s too hard as a consumer to stop doing business with them? Consumers can ask their employers to cancel their contracts with Equifax for its Work Number service, which provides employment verification and other personal information, the Your Money column advises.
New gig: Kenneth I. Chenault, the departing CEO of American Express, has joined the board of Airbnb as its first independent board member.
“This should be treated as a call to action to take appropriate steps to protect their ATMs against these forms of attack and mitigate any consequences.” — An alert from NCR Corp. to its ATM customers.